The findings of a report released by the Commonwealth Fund this week indicates that the uninsured rate of young Latinos aged 19-34 fell from 43% last year to 23% after the open enrollment period ended in June 2014. The drop in uninsured rates is due in large part to the increased availability of subsidized coverage under the new healthcare law, and the expansion of Medicaid in many states, including California.
The uninsured rate among non-elderly Latinos who primarily speak Spanish also dropped, from 49% to 30%. This is significant, as this group has historically been among the most likely to be uninsured.
Among those who benefited the most were Latinos who qualified for Medicaid due to their income levels (a family of four with a total annual income of below $32,500 qualifies for Medicaid). The uninsured rate among this group dropped from 46% to 28%.
Michelle Doty, the report’s lead author and the Commonwealth Fund’s Vice President for Survey Research and Evaluation, said that the ACA appears to be working for Latinos, a group long under-served in the realm of healthcare. “These substantial improvements will mean better health and health care for millions of people,” said Doty.
Refusal of Some States to Expand Medicaid Hurting Latinos
The findings of the report offered clear evidence that the expansion of Medicaid in 25 states and the District of Columbia benefited Latinos. In states that expanded Medicaid, the uninsured rate for Latinos dropped from 35% to 17%. In the states that chose not to expand Medicaid, the uninsured rate for Latinos remained largely unchanged at 33%. Moving forward, it will be necessary for all states to expand Medicaid in order to achieve the ACA’s goal of equitably distributed coverage.
While awareness among Latinos about the availability of marketplace coverage has improved, according to the report, there is still progress to be made in this area.
To learn more about Covered California, California’s health insurance exchange, contact BenefitPackages today.